The testnet of Litecoin’s privacy feature returns as news emerges that Europol views privacy and currency mixing technologies as the top digital threats
Litecoin ( LTC ) has relaunched its MimbleWimble test network – a protocol designed to increase privacy and overshadow the traceability of distributed ledger transactions.
MimbleWimble is a modified implementation of the proof of work algorithm that underpins Bitcoin (BTC) in which the blocks appear as a single large transaction, preventing individual inputs and outputs related to the transactions from being identified.
David Burkett, the leading developer of the MimbleWimble protocol for Litecoin, will now focus on making it easier for “non-technical users of Litecoin” to start testing functionality, as well as fixing aspects of the code that are “fragile”.
Burkett aims to fully activate the protocol sometime in the next year, noting on a Telegram channel that it will be up to Litecoin miners and node operators to decide “when or even if they want to activate”.
LTC’s MimbleWimble test network was previously launched on September 30, but has been delayed due to low community participation.
Litecoin’s MimbleWimble progress comes as regulators increasingly seek to crack down on privacy-encrypting asset encryption technologies, with Europol disclosing privacy currencies and naming decentralized markets, cryptocurrency mixers and anonymous wallets among the top threats organized crime online.
In its ‘Assessment of the Threat of Organized Crime on the Internet’ for 2020, Europol states that “wallet services with enhanced privacy using coinjoin [..] have emerged as one of the main threats”, citing the respective portfolios of Wasabi and Samurai as examples. Coinjoin wallets mix the currencies of various users involved in separate transactions, effectively providing a decentralized mixing service.
Europol says that operators in the darknet markets are increasingly moving to integrate coinjoin portfolios into their platforms.
Europol also notes that while Bitcoin is still the dominant currency in the darknet markets, Monero (XMR) is emerging as the most popular privacy currency, followed by Zcash (ZEC) and Dash (DASH). The report identified Litecoin and Ethereum ( ETH ) as the two most popular altcoins in the darknet markets.